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The imperative need for open conversations on mental health



By Anjali Singh

Mental health… Did your eyes sparkle with curiosity, or did your heart skip a beat with concern? If it sparkled, you might be a mental health researcher, but if your heart skipped a beat, you could be seeking help.

The topic of mental health is increasingly prevalent in conversations today. You’ve likely heard Libianca’s song “Did you check on me – People” countless times, and there’s even a remix available. But have we truly taken those lyrics to heart? Have we checked on our friends and loved ones after hearing the song? Sadly, in most cases, we haven’t.

Our society has long battled diseases like the plague, cancer, and tumours, but now, the most pressing issue is “depression” and “mental health”. Yet, we still hesitate to talk about it openly. We have numerous helpline services designed to address suicidal thoughts and depression, but has anyone ever volunteered to check if these services truly work? Do the service providers genuinely care about your mental state, or are they merely trying to complete their shift?

The person sitting next to you might be struggling with recent suicidal thoughts or may have had an anxiety attack earlier today. The individual with the guitar you met may have recently self-harmed, and the beautiful lady you saw on the metro might be trapped in a difficult marriage, yearning to break free but unable to do so due to her child.

Mental health is not a taboo subject, and we don’t need a WHO scorecard to identify who needs help and who is doing well. Mental health isn’t a disease that can be cured with pills or tonics, nor can it be resolved by running a social media campaign saying, “Hey! I’m here to talk; you can reach out to me.” No, it doesn’t work that way. Someone going through a tough time simply needs a listening ear – someone with whom they can pour out their hearts and share their thoughts.

In essence, all they require are two empathetic ears, two compassionate eyes, and a calm mind willing to understand the speaker’s pain. So, all you can do is be kind to everyone you meet and create a safe space for them to open up and share their feelings. Instead of giving up on life, encourage them to speak up.

P.S. You never know, the person behind this article might also be seeking a willing ear to listen.